By Shaun Casey
HEADING into the final two rounds of the league, Monaghan ladies currently sit second from bottom, but have the chance to fend off fears of relegation when they host Roscommon this weekend, the only team below them in the Division Two table.
“It’s a big one for both teams, that’s just the reality of it,” said Monaghan boss Kieran Kearns.
“Obviously there’s a lot at stake for both teams so we’re under no illusions of what we’re facing and what’s going to be required from us.
“We’re ready and we’re waiting for the challenge that lies ahead so we’re looking forward to it. There was a two week break there for everybody in the league. It was needed I suppose to recharge the batteries and get the bodies healed that were sore and to re-energise the whole thing as well.
“We’re coming off a disappointing loss to Tipperary. We were very much in the game and very much controlling the game right up to half time and we lost a couple of players due to injury and it really had an impact on us.
“We’ve been working with the Roscommon game in mind over the last two weeks, trying to build the confidence back up in the group. Having done our work on Roscommon, Roscommon have been very unlucky.
“They could have won every game they’ve played; they’ve only lost narrowly in a couple of games. Even against the big teams, they’ve put it up to them.
“If we look at the Armagh game for example, they definitely could have got something out of that game so they’ve been terribly unlucky. They’ll be a huge challenge, yes, they’ve no wins but they could very easily have three or four at this stage.”
Kearns admits that the Farney ladies are in transition and are trying to build a new team.
“When we took over the team last year there were 16 players that had departed from that group and even this year’s team, we have a number of new players in. Transition would be an accurate assessment of where we are,” he added.
“It’s trying to find consistency now and building a panel of players that we can work off and try to implement everything that we’re trying to implement with them. All that takes time so it’s a long-term thing.”
In their last three outings, Monaghan have conceded a goal a game, which is something they hope to improve. “Last year, we got to the National League semi-final and the reason we got there was because we didn’t concede any goals,” added Kearns.
“So, we’d be very disappointed, obviously the Laois came aside (when they conceded three), that was a complete disaster, but it’s something we will be focusing on, trying to get back to that level of not conceding goals.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, and we are getting better at it but ideally, like every other team, you don’t want to be conceding goals, especially not soft ones.”